Ole Miss Softball buries Chattanooga early in 12-0 regional rout

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OXFORD, Miss. (Ole Miss Athletics) - No. 17 Ole Miss (38-17) wasted absolutely no time in distancing itself from Chattanooga (37-16) in Friday night's NCAA Oxford Regional opener, advancing to the winner's bracket with a 12-0 victory in five innings.

With the win, the No. 1 seed Rebels set up a showdown with the No. 2 seed, the seventh-ranked Ragin' Cajuns of Louisiana. First pitch is set for 12 p.m. CT, with the winner moving on to the Regional Championship Game.

Three different Rebels registered multiple hits in the drubbing of the Mocs, with junior Kaylee Horton leading the way with a 3-for-3 showing, driving in and scoring three runs apiece. Amanda Roth and Tate Whitley each posted a pair of hits, with Roth joining Jessica Puk as the other Rebels to deliver three RBIs.

Brittany Finney needed just three innings of work to earn the win, surrendering just three hits while striking out five of the 11 batters she faced. Ava Tillmann tossed a pair of shutout frames in relief, allowing a pair of knocks.

The first six batters of the game reached for the Rebels, with Horton finishing off the run with a bases-clearing, three-run triple to left, putting the Rebs up 4-0. After an RBI grounder from Puk, Roth smoked a single up the middle, plating Tate Whitley to extend the advantage to 6-0 after the first.

Ole Miss picked things right back up in the second, with Puk singling home a pair of runners and Roth following with another sharp knock up the middle to scratch across another run. Following a Kylan Becker RBI ground out and an Abbey Latham RBI single up the middle, Ole Miss closed out the second firmly in control up 11-0.

The Rebels added one more run in the third on a Roth grounder, allowing Horton to come home, and Ole Miss took care of business on the defensive side, finishing out a resounding victory to move into the winner's bracket.